Episode 61:

What is Dry Needling Anyway?

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Spoiler Alert: Dry needling is not acupuncture performed by Physical Therapists. Thanks to this conversation with Danielle Colvin, PT,DPT,OCS, we learn exactly what functional dry needling is, why and when it is used in physical therapy treatment, and what to expect as a patient. We also spend some time in understanding orthopedic physical therapy and how beneficial that can be for people, whether or not dry needling is used. Danielle finishes off the discussion by providing her top tips for staying healthy, active, and mobile in your body -- you definitely want to hear those.

Episode Recap:

Interview with Danielle Colvin - 1:59

"You Want Me To Do What??" section - 37:50


  • An orthopedic physical therapist treats conditions and issues relating to muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, connective tissues, and nerves

  • Functional dry needling is a non-pharmacological intervention used to reduce inflammation and increase function

  • Dry needling evolved from examining outcomes from injection-based procedures commonly used for reducing pain. Research showed that the needle itself created the change in the body, not the fluid being injected.

  • Needles used in dry needling is a monofilament needle meaning that it is much thinner than a hypodermic needle (the needles used for injections)

  • Dry needling is typically done in addition to other physical therapy treatments

  • Needles go in deeper than acupuncture needles as they are going into the muscle belly and fibers

  • The physical therapist is always watching how the body is responding to the needles so they are not going to leave needles in long 

  • Needles vary in length from 30mm to 130mm, depending on what the treatment is targeting

  • Becoming certified to do dry needling requires continuing education coursework that is offered in three levels

  • Danielle’s Top 3 Tips for Staying Active & Healthy:

    • Prevent injury through:

      • Hydration

      • Sleep

      • Warm-up/Cool downs with workouts

      • Engaging the core/doing core work prior to a workout

    • Don’t ignore dysfunction in how you move

    • Respect your pain - treat it, manage it, and don’t think yourself into more pain by stressing about it


Where to find more information on Physical Therapy & Dry Needling: